Syrian rebels free 48 Iranians in exchange for 2,130 prisoners, international envoy for Syria, Lakhdar Brahimi says the speech by President Assad was a lost opportunity and told BBC that there was no political progress, he says he will be focusing on the “outer ring” and narrow difference in international opinion on Syria (examples Russia & US)
Continued tensions between Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan after hostage situation. All border posts are closed around the city of Sokh, Kyrgyzstan says they will not open them until Uzbekistan pays damages. This is a Uzbek city that is inside Kyrgyz territory, mostly populated by people originally from Tajikstan.
Also in Kyrgyzstan, local Chinese workers held a number of people hostage over the theft of a phone, at least 100 people were involved and probably 20 injured. 5 policemen were taken hostage during the situation. The region, Osh was the scene for ethnic clashes between Uzbek and Kyrgyz in 2010.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai is visiting the US the next 4 days, he will most likely meet with Panetta and Clinton. He already visited Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security Asadullah Khalid, who is being treated in Washington for wounds he received in a suicide bombing last month. He will be negotiating a bilateral security agreement with President Obama on Jan. 11th and during his visit Obama will be announcing the number of troops that will stay in the country in 2014.
Farm workers are on strike in South Africa, demanding wages increased, many tensions are racially motivated, workers barricaded roads and threw stones at police.
India says soldier beheaded by Pakistan in the disputed territory of Kashmir and today Pakistan claims that one of their soldiers were killed when India fired into the Kashmir region, 115 people killed in bombings across the country today.
Islamists in Northern Mali clashed with government forces today – this is the first physical action we’ve seen between the two in a year, dangerous escalation
In Yemen, a prominent tribal chief has been killed for his security links in a revenge attack by Al-Qaeda
Venezuela holds symbolic inauguration for Chavez
Mass sentencing in Vietnam for activists including writers and bloggers, plotting against the government